Thursday, July 12, 2018

Jesus Hated Life in This World

He who loves his life shall lose it, and he who hates his life in this world
shall keep it unto eternal life.  If anyone serves me, he must follow me.
John 12:25–26a

Preacher Clark testified once that God had spoken to him and said, “I am not a hypocrite.  I don’t command you to do something that I don’t do.”  Jesus was our example, and he expects us to follow it.  He did not tell us to hate this life even though he loved it.  He hated this life as an example for us, showing us how to hate it in a godly way, as he said, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me.”
But what is it about life in this world that Jesus hated?  First of all, when he came into the world, the righteous and the wicked were both living in it.  Second, when he came into the world, nobody in this world had the kind of life that he had, the eternal life that God gave him when He created him.  Therefore, nobody in this world truly knew or understood either him or his Father.  His Father knew him, and he knew his Father; every other creature in heaven or in earth was in darkness.
Before the Son of God rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and cast Satan and his angels out, godly and ungodly creatures dwelt in heaven, too.  Also, no heavenly creature, except the Son, had God’s kind of life, just as no earthly creature had God’s kind of life.  Moreover, Paul said that from the foundation of the world, the Son of God was hidden from both men and heavenly beings until he was revealed in Jesus Christ (Col. 1:26; Eph. 3:9).  This means that no creature in heaven knew or understood the Son before he was revealed, just as no creature on earth knew or understood the Son.  In short, the kind of life Jesus hated in this world when he came into it was very much like the kind of life Jesus knew in heaven before he came.
All this brings us to a question.  If Jesus hated life in this world, then did he also hate life in heaven before he came to earth and returned to heaven, and cast Satan and his angels out, thus purging heaven of all ungodliness?  There was certainly something about life in heaven that Jesus hated, for when he returned to heaven, he made enormous changes there, purifying it, according to the author of Hebrews (9:23).
When Jesus prayed that the Father would restore glory to him, he said he was praying for “the glory that I used to have with you before the universe existed” (Jn. 17:5).  Before this universe existed, the Son dwelt openly with the Father in supreme happiness (Prov. 8:22–31).  After the universe was populated, in heaven and in earth, the Son was hidden by the Father, to be revealed at the appointed time.  Repeatedly, in the book of Psalms and in the prophets, we find the hidden Son of God asking the Father to let him come to earth and teach men about the Father.  For example: “Let me sing of the LORD’s eternal mercies!  Let me make known with my mouth your faithfulness through all generations!” (Ps. 89:1).
How happy must the Son have been when the Father at last sent him to earth to be revealed, to be free to teach men, as the Son of God, about his Father – and to return to heaven and openly enjoy again the Father’s presence as His precious Son!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Things That Are In Christ

The phrase “in Christ” is used seventy-seven times in the New Testament.  Seventy-four of those times are found in Paul’s letters.  Luke used it once (Acts 24:24), and late in Peter’s life, he used it a couple of times (1Pet. 3:16; 5:14).  During the night recently, I was lying in bed thinking about the things of God and the thought came to me, “How many things does the Bible say are in Christ?”  And so, I arose and looked up the scriptures concerning what is in Christ Jesus.  Here is what I found (along with a few verses that say “in me” or “in him” when referring to Christ):

God the Father
John 10:38b: The Father is in me, and I, in him.
2Corinthians 5:19: God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.

The Fullness of God’s Nature
Colossians 1:19: God was pleased for all His fullness to dwell in him.
Colossians 2:9: In him dwells all the fullness of God’s nature, bodily.

John 1:4: In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Romans 3:24: Being freely made righteous by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Romans 12:5: We, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members of one another.
2Corinthians 5:17: If anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature.

The Law of the Spirit of Life
Romans 8:2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death!

The Love of God
Romans 8:39: . . . nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

2Corinthians 3:14: Their minds were blinded, and even until this very day, in the reading of the Old Testament, the same veil remains, not taken away – which thing is removed in Christ.

2Corinthians 11:3: I fear, lest, as the serpent led Eve astray by his craftiness, so your thoughts likewise be led astray from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Galatians 2:4: False brothers . . . slipped in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus.

No Human Differences
Galatians 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor freeman, nor male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 6:15: In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but being a new creature does.

All Spiritual Blessings
Ephesians 1:3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven.

Access to God
Ephesians 2:13: In Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

The Promise of God (the Spirit)
Ephesians 3:6: The Gentiles are to be heirs with the Jews, and of the same body, and partakers together of His promise in Christ, through the gospel.

The Attitude of a Servant
Philippians 2:4–5: Let each of you look not to his own interests, but each one also to the interests of others.  Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.

The Calling of God
Philippians 3:14: I press on toward the goal, for the prize of the heavenly calling of God in Christ Jesus.

The Will of God
1Thessalonians 5:18: In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Faith and Love
1Timothy 1:14: The grace of our Lord abounded, with the faith and love that is in Christ Jesus.
2Timothy 1:13: Maintain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

The Faith
1Timothy 3:13: Those who have served well earn for themselves good standing and much boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

God’s Promise of Eternal Life
2Timothy 1:1: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, in accord with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus . . .

The Grace of God
2Timothy 2:1: So, my son, you be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2Timothy 2:10: I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they might attain to the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
There are many good things in Christ.  May we discover and experience what they all are!